Is there anybody out there? Are we living in a dream? Are we just a figment of our imaginations? Poet Salena Godden often thinks about what lies beyond our world and used poetry as a vehicle to question these difficult questions in her short film.
"Ghosts, spirits, energies, other worlds, other life, after life…” Godden might not know what what is out there but she is open to investigating. We spoke to the artist to find out how she uses poetry to communicate with others, if Godden thinks we have become too reliant on social media, and what she would do if she was to spend a day without the internet.
Why did you pick the question “Is there anybody out there?”
It is something I think about often. Is there anybody out there? Out there listening or caring or recording, guiding us… Also is there anybody out there? Ghosts, spirits, energies, other worlds, other life, after life… Which always makes me come back to: Is there anybody in here? Are we here inside here? And then I wonder if I am here or just dreaming or a figment of my own imagination…
How does poetry help you to communicate with others?
Poetry for me is all about the heart and soul, the truth in the guts, our feelings, our connection, and communication. I feel a poem works when other people read it or hear it and then you feel them react and be moved and hopefully connect and that’s a great moment.
I have used poetry in so many ways to communicate secrets, unsent letters, fears, and wishes, and prayers, I think that’s what my poetry is about. The poem Is There Anybody Out There (Back of the Internet) is a fear of disconnection, a fear of a future dystopia where we are locked out of ourselves and each other.
In your poem Is There Anybody Out There you claim that without social media it is #boring. Do you think we have become too reliant on social media and the internet?
Ha. That’s not really me. That’s a character, the character I play in the poem. In real life, I love the outside and the natural world. The character in the poem goes around 'the back of the internet’ – in this poem set in the future, they leave their bunker and go outside and the world has gone. They explore offline and away from the screen, but their head and thoughts are still online somehow connected to social media.
How do you think the internet is benefiting or worsening the loneliness crisis?
The internet is so complex, that’s such a massive question. One moment it can make us feel like we have spoken to hundreds of people but it was just a tweet or a chat online in a group. In contradiction it makes us feel alone when we post something and nobody sees it. We compare our lives, triumphs, and failures through a filter that is not real or necessary. We seek attention and share parts of ourselves that we hope are favorable.
I think the internet is all things, both good and bad, sweet and bitter and sour. I guess the internet is like most things, you probably shouldn’t do it everyday. We should all take more time out, take time to listen, and ask is anybody in there, rather than out there.
What would you do if you had to spend a day without the internet?
I spend lots of time off and away from the internet, I read and write, I like to ride my bike, walk in the forest, and cooking. I do a lot of eating, feasting, and laughing, and drinking – the party is offline!